Over the last couple of months our clients have been asking about Pinterest, the latest social media darling.  If you’ve heard about this fast growing social media platform you may be wondering if it’s a fit for your small business.  Here’s the scoop.

So what is Pinterest? It provides the opportunity for users to create virtual bulletin boards where they can “pin” images or photos on categorized “boards” and share them with others. If your products are visually appealing and your target market is women, Pinterest is a must.  As an example, some brides are planning their entire wedding on Pinterest!  They seek out and share photos of dresses, reception venues, wedding invitations and more all in one location and can then have family and friends share opinions and ideas as well.

To provide a visual example of Pinterest’s boards, here’s one we created for a client.   By the way, their products are a perfect fit since they offer stationery, invitations, wedding accessories, etc.

Pinterest users find you and your products via a search.  So make sure your board names and product descriptions are “keyword-friendly”, making it easy for visitors to find.  For this particular customer, we use the same products on multiple boards, when appropriate.  For example, we have ring-bearer pillows that are on a client’s “formal wedding”, “black and white wedding”, and “damask wedding” boards. You could also dedicate a board to each product group or by occasion where the products are used.

Pinning images from your web site enables viewers to link to your site.  One of the interesting things we found with Pinterest is that traffic to the corresponding website definitely increased as a result of visits from Pinterest.  One note of caution, though.  Only pin items for which you own the rights or items that are not copyrighted.  Otherwise, you might run into the issue of copyright infringement if you don’t have permission to use an image.

When Pinterest was first launched, you needed to be invited to join.  You can still visit Pinterest.com and request an invitation, which should arrive in a day or so.  But you can now also create a Pinterest account using your existing facebook or Twitter account.  Pinterest automatically creates several standard boards for you, but these can be deleted and you can create your own boards.   Take a look at the default settings and make any necessary changes.  For instance, the default settings hide your Pinterest profile from search engines.  You’ll probably want to change that option, as well as others.

Here are some opportunities to use Pinterest as an addition to your current online marketing efforts:

  • Cross-pollinate Pinterest images by linking them to your Twitter or Facebook accounts.
  • Have a blog?  Insert an image in your blog and add a “pin it” button next to it.  Readers can pin the image to their boards, enabling others to link back to the blog.
  • Add the Pinterest button to your web site so visitors can link to your Pinterest boards.
  • Add a “pin it” button to web site images so visitors can pin them to their boards.
  • Add a Pinterest tab to your facebook page allowing visitors to view your boards right from facebook.

I think one of the nicest surprises is how easy Pinterest is to use.  And given its benefits, I’d suggest you go for it!  Happy pinning!